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Archive for May, 2013

“Friendship is one soul dwelling in two bodies.”
~Aristotle 

Topsail 2011 - Surrounded by lifetime friends - I miss them every day!

Topsail 2011 – Surrounded by lifetime friends.                   Think about them each and every day!

I have been blessed with friends, good friends, loving friends.  Both new and old friends have touched my life again and again sometimes for years and sometimes for moments.  Some of my friends have touched my life since childhood and some since moving to Tucson less than a year ago.

Over the past weeks, I have been blown away by the love and connections I have felt surrounding me.  From all over the globe I have had moment after moment where my friends have touched me or reached out to me at exactly the right time.  New friends and old friends have reminded me of the power of friendship.

In the last week or so alone:

  • Received a gift in the mail – a mug that said “It is what it is.” While the mug broke, I LOVED it nonetheless.  This is the one motto that has guided my life since 2001. . .These are some of the last words I remember my father saying before he took his final breath.
  • Another friend told me she was trying to book a ticket to see me just because she thought I needed her.
  • Learned from a friend about new possibilities for embracing my newest dietary journeys/struggles.
  • Meanwhile, a childhood friend told me he needed to send me a product he loves because he thought it would be good for my health.
  • A bunch of friends called at the perfect moment just to surround me with a cocoon of love.
  • One friend emailed me ideas with tools to re-ignite my non-profit dream.
  • New friends emerged with ideas to grow the religious school experience my students have.
  • My writing was acknowledged by friends who want me to keep writing because my words make a difference in their lives.
  • Love notes/emails from members of my community that are happy I came to Tucson.
  • Text messages reminded me that I am both thought of and loved.
  • Laughter, fun, stories, and song. . . .all with friends.

The melancholy that is filling me at this moment does not come from sadness, it comes from awe.  How can I be so blessed to have friends who love me and reach out as they do?  My hope is that I am am truly worthy of the love and warmth I receive.

May the love of old and new friends touch us now and always.

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Today, there is no more counting the Omer until next year: I finished counting the Omer last week.  For 49 days, I counted from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom/Receiving the Torah.

The practice of writing nearly each of the 49 days helped me feel more grounded and balanced.  As I struggled with some of the intensity that often fills my being, I was able to focus on different kabalistic teachings and to bring them to life in a way that often felt right for me (and hopefully for some of my readers too).  My writing practice had good days and bad days, meaningful writing and not as meaningful writing.  Regardless of the day, my words gave me a greater insight into my heart and into my thoughts.  With each letter typed, my core felt like it was becoming a little more whole, a little more free.

Once I counted the 49th day, the practice of Counting the Omer came to completion.  Over and Out.  And with the last day came an emptiness.  I struggled with finding my foundation, my yesod.  For 49 days, I was guided by tradition to share my thoughts and then as tradition would have it, I had to create a different framework to keep me motivated.  While many ideas are emerging, none are ready to share just yet.  The good news is that I don’t think the waiting will be long.  The good news is that I have come to understand the benefit of the space between the words.  There is power in the silence that surrounds me as I wait for my next writing process to emerge.

Oriah the Dreamer

May the silence lead to an inner calmness and to the emergence of both insightful and powerful writing.

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Tonight we counted Day 49 of the Omer, which is 7 weeks of the counting. Day 49 is referred to as Malkhut sheh b’Malkhut,  Wholeness within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

Reflection:  In Hebrew, the word shalom means peace.  If you take the root letters from shalom, you will also have the word shalem which means completeness or wholeness.

The counting of the Omer has been a spiritual journey for me.  I have actively been trying to strengthen my foundation by doing the work to make myself a little more complete, a little more whole.  Only by doing the holy work of taking care of my being, do I have a chance of finding inner peace and creating outer peace too.

While I have chosen not to share the specifics of my journey over the past 7 weeks, I have been directly paralleling the journey of the Israelites from slavery to liberation.  While it takes more than 49 days to become free of the challenges that have troubled or enslaved any of our hearts and minds, the 49 days can still be used to travel towards greater spiritual liberation.

My journey will continue, but I am feeling more centered and complete now than I did 49 days ago.  Navigating inner and outer peace for me and for the world I live can be intense.  While I often smile and laugh, I also never stop thinking.  I struggle with how to navigate so many aspects of life.  Each and every person matters; the world matters.  Child slavery still exists; global warming destroys; natural castrophies exist; senseless people find ways to cause war; gun violence never stops; terrorism happens.  And each and every time I walk out my door I pray that I will return to love my family.  I take NOTHING for granted.

Earlier this week, a friend was having a bad day and accused me of lacking consideration for that was important in the world.  Little did he know that I have to find laughter and moments of joy or I will crumble.  I have to celebrate my journey to health, my yoga class, my ability to hear.  Life matters.  Intensity courses through my veins, but if I don’t breathe deeply sometimes and acknowledge the gifts, I would crumble in the face of the disasters and potential disaster that surround all that is. Courage, strength, and hope matter.

CafePasseNeeds

As we count Day 49 of the Omer is my hope and my prayer that each of us are ready for the end of the journey from slavery to liberation.  May we feel whole in the core of our being; may peace radiate within us and around us.

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Tonight we counted Day 48 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and six days of the counting. Day 48 is referred to as Yesod sheh b’Malkhut,  Foundation within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

There is absolutely no alternative for building a foundation or to continuously strengthening a foundation when you have a malkhut or kingdom.  Regardless of where you are your sanctuary needs to have the strongest foundation possible in order to thrive.  Twice this lesson was brought home to me today alone.  Once was when I experienced, quite possibly, my best yoga class ever.  The yoga instructor reinforced time and time again that without a strong foundation, you will hurt your body or any foundation that is part of your life.  The second example came from a list of 102 personal goals that I must have written for myself about 13-15 years ago when I lived in Atlanta.  So many of the goals have evolved to become the foundation that helped me become the person I am today.

Creating a foundation comes only when we live consciously, find balance, and engage in healthy choices.  Most everything we do has the ability to make a difference for good or for bad; making the choice to embrace the right choices is part of developing a strong foundation.  Living with the sensitivity that godliness matters can have a profound impact on life not only for us but for the world we live.

Foundations come with balance.

Foundations come with balance.

May each of us engage in the holy work of life by actively caring for ourselves and the world we live.

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Tonight we counted Day 47 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and five days of the counting. Day 47 is referred to as Hod sheh b’Malkhut,  Expansiveness within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

Imagine opening your front door and peering out into your neighborhood, your community, your city.  And then imagine being to metaphorically open many doors as you walk into the larger world.

Expansiveness.

Each time we open a door or peer out a doorway, the world is wide open to us.  Knowing that gives us infinite possibilities to make a difference from where we stand.  All steps are important.  Baby steps count and when you are able to take bigger steps, they count too.

doorwayStairs

Doing tikun olam (repairing the world) and living consciously should be a given in life, may each of us find a way to embrace the expansiveness of our world, our kingdom, to make a difference for good!

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Tonight we counted Day 46 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and four days of the counting. Day 46 is referred to as Netzach sheh b’Malkhut,  Endurance within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.~Dalai Lama

ripples[1]

Most everything we do matters.  Sometimes what we do touches people for years to come; sometimes we have no idea about how our words or actions affect others.   Perhaps all of us could learn to navigate a little more gently.

Below are two personal stories to illustrate this truth:

  • When I was a little girl my neighbor nurtured my love of writing by encouraging me as a writer and by helping me create little books of my writing.  With Mrs. Beiner as a mentor I am feeling the ripple effect to this day.
  • In college, I took a graduate level writing class.  After my second or third day of the semester, the professor told me that I should forget writing because I had no talent.  The moment he spoke, I gave up writing for nearly 15 years.

With each breath may we remember that our words and actions matter.

Shabbat Shalom

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Tonight we counted Day 45 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and three days of the counting. Day 45 is referred to as Tiferet sheh b’Malkhut,  Beauty within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

H.G. Wells said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Different people will find different things beautiful.  For me, I tend to look both inside and outside of all people, situations, and environments.  The bottom-line is that intention matters.  Metaphorically and physically speaking, it matters how things appear.

May we each reach to find the beauty that surrounds us.

May we each reach to find the beauty that surrounds us.

When we weave together all the different aspects of a community, we can either find godliness or not depending on how we look at the world.  Generally speaking, I tend to find the beauty in most of what surrounds me, gifts within the challenges and light within the darkness.  With each step I take, I crave beauty and I look for ways to navigate the darkness that often emergences from life’s challenges.

This week alone, I found that my eyes were opened on at least three occasions when I initially saw things one way and then became enlightened.

  1. The first moment came when a man from Cleveland essentially rescued three women.  Initially I thought he was a low class, but then he suggested that a reward that he had been offered be given to the women who really needed it; he was fortunate enough to earn a paycheck.
  2. Yesterday, I went to a look at a yoga studio .  On the outside, it was really a more simple studio than I had ever seen.  Once I went inside today, I fell in love with the space and the energy that encompassed the entire environment.
  3. Tonight, I went walking with my son Aryeh, we saw two nice looking young men walking around, but then we saw them slow down and start really looking at the different houses.  While initially they seemed to be close friends or lovers on a stroll, they eventually looked like young men casing the neighborhood.  The beauty of the last scenario is that I was able to see past my initial vision and then to make a good choice by calling the local police who listened.

In each example, I could have gotten lost in my first impressions, but ultimately I saw things clearer and found a moment of godliness or maybe the shekhinah’s presence in what transpired.

May each of us be blessed to see Shekhinah’s presence or godliness as we walk on our way.

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